Clarity First Newsletter, May 5, 2017

I’m feeling challenged this week. Someone who wonders why we fought the Civil War is our president. I’m trying to remember that we’re all trying as hard as we can.

Change is easier together.

Seemingly from another world, a world I very much believe in, Tynesia Boyea-Robinson says that we can create lasting impact, even around complex problems. To do so we need to work together and
– focus on a problem’s underlying cause, instead of its symptoms,
– continually improve our efforts through ongoing feedback,
– use data to define the impact we are looking to achieve, and
– align our programs, policies, and funding streams with clearly articulated goals. All in favor, say “aye”.
Book Review: Just Change: How to Collaborate for Lasting Impact

Digitization is only the strategy.

Most B2B companies, profit or non-profit, suspect that digitization is the future, but few have a clue how to integrate it at a core, strategic level. It helps to turn your lens the other way: digitization is only the strategy. The fundamental change is about how we design and manage our business.
Article: Six Things B2B Leaders Do to Become More Agile and Drive Growth.

Tribal definition

Love it or meh, Basecamp is building a rapidly growing collaboration platform. The cool news for other company builders is that they are sharing their first ever employee handbook. To me, the biggest testimonial comes from a new hire: “I had access to the employee handbook weeks before starting, and I loved that. I read it several times, not only because it was informative, but also because it made me feel super happy and excited about joining.”
Article: Basecamp’s Employee Handbook is Public!

How different companies can collaborate to bring about positive community change

In the wake of deindustrialization and economic decline, community initiatives have been crucial for helping Detroit get back on its feet. The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI) is a volunteer-based non-profit that has attracted interest and investment from companies including BASF, General Motors, Green Standards, Herman Miller and Integrity Building Group.
Article: Transformational Collaboration: How Brands Are Helping to Create the US’ First Sustainable Urban Agrihood

Robots on the rampage

In our rush to hypertarget, marketers ignore the perils of personalization. Algorithms – or “algos” – can be intrusive and are prone to overuse. A marketer’s addiction to sole reliance on this new tool is a hidden threat to advertising’s function as a catalyst of discovery.
Article: The Perils of Algorithmic Marketing

Your brand should be so lucky, and so recognizable.

First, high-end fashion brand Balenciaga re-envisioned the ubiquitous blue Ikea shopping bag as a $2,200 over the shoulder status statement. Ikea responded by saying that they are “extremely flattered” by the comparison. The company went on to release a tongue-in-cheek guide to help customers differentiate the 52 cent tote from its more expensive counterpart. Now Los Angeles fashion brands Pleasures and Chinatown Market have made a $38 baseball hat from the Swedish furniture giant’s bags, replete with full logo on the brim. Not surprisingly, Ikea isn’t suing anyone.
Article: IKEA’s Blue Bag Has Been Reimagined as a $38 Baseball Hat  

Misinformation is currently predominantly a pathology of the right.

Outreach to conservatives, increased collaboration between journalists and academics, and more data from major social media companies could help fight the tide of fake news, according to a report released Monday by the the Harvard Kennedy School and Northeastern University.
Article: New Report on Fake News Recommends Fighting it With More Conservatives, Greater Collaboration and Better Access to Data

I would move to Portugal to work in this space.

“Walking into Second Home Lisboa, the first thing you see is the bar. The next is the view from windows that line the space: on one side, the market where women in aprons sell fruit and vegetables, fish and legs of ham; on the other, the vast Tagus River glittering in the sun. Below, on an artfully jumbled collection of vintage chairs, people chat over coffee served in enamel mugs.”
Article: Is Lisbon’s Hottest Hangout the Future of the Office?

Play list

This week I’m appreciating how Nada Surf’s song Blonde on Blonde uses the Velvet’s plain speak style to completely repurpose Dylan’s promise of the salvation that is earned with honesty. I like the idea of salvation. I love soothing songs that promise me that it’s all going to be ok if we just show up.

Images of the week

In the summer of 2001 American Tom Sponheim was vacationing in Barcelona. Wandering through a flea market he spotted a stack of photo negatives. He recognized that they were decently exposed and bought them. When he printed them back home he realized that he had stumbled upon the work of an unknown, but immensely talented photographer. Mashable has the story.

What’s Clarity First?

If you’re new to Clarity First, it’s the weekly newsletter by Clarity, the consultancy that helps mission-driven companies use their brand – their purpose, values, and stories – as powerful tools for transformation. Learn more.

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